Exiqon Announces Validation of a Biomarker Able to Distinguish Aggressive from Low-Risk Prostate Cancers

Exiqon Announces Validation of a Biomarker Able to Distinguish Aggressive from Low-Risk Prostate Cancers

Exiqon Life Sciences announced the publication of a study detailing the validation of its prognostic microRNA biomarker profile, an non-invasive way of distinguishing patients with aggressive prostate cancers from those with low-risk cancers.

Researched and validated in a partnership with Aarhus University Hospital, the biomarker is intended to aid clinicians in determining the best treatment option for particular patients and to reduce incidences of over-treatment. The study, “Novel diagnostic and prognostic classifiers for prostate cancer identified by genome-wide microRNA profiling,” was published in Oncotarget.

The biomarker profile consists of 3 microRNAs, small non-coding RNAs and genetic regulators, that can be assayed through the company’s proprietary PCR technology using prostate cancer tissue obtained by radical prostatectomy. It is the first microRNA biomarker profile to be validated in different three prostate cancer patient cohorts, Exiquon said in a press release. In tests of its effectiveness, more than half of the patients were categorized as being low risk with an accuracy of 80–89 percent.

It can be used to group patients into high- and low-grade cancer, an essential distinction for proper treatment, as low-grade prostate cancer often does not require radiation therapy and surgery. Misdiagnoses of a cancer’s aggressiveness can lead to over-treatment, and unnecessary and costly procedures with risks of side effects. As such, there is a need for noninvasive, easy to administer, and diagnostic assays such as effective prognostic biomarkers.

“At Exiqon, we share the vison of validating biomarkers together with the medical community to facilitate the implementation of personalized medicine. With the increasing cost of treating complex diseases such as prostate cancer, there is a significant market need for tests that enable the medical community to focus the sparse resources on the relevant patients only,” said Peter Mouritzen, vice president of product development at Exiqon A/S.

Exiqon is seeking further clinical robustness validation studies, and is recruiting patient cohorts in Europe and the U.S. The company expects to make the biomarker test commercially available in 2017.